The following was nuked several days ago, but I still feel it represents a couple of ideas that need to be kicked around.
Everything Statistics - September 29, 2001 (3)

The XP/Level system on E2 suffers from one major inherent problem; we are limited to +1 or -1 votes (or we can choose to not vote and ignore it). This means that I must rate a well-written 1500 word biography of a major historical figure the same as an interesting two paragraph factual node about a species of snail.

A comparison from my own WUs; I chose these without much thought but for the fact they had the same overall reputation and were written within a week of each other.

Richard Ira Bong Rep: +8, 0
A nearly 700 word biography on America's leading World War II ace, with several interesting anecdotes. This WU took almost three hours to put together.

drain the swamp Rep: +9, -1
Two short paragraphs requiring no research and maybe three minutes of my time to write.
Now, we can choose any flavor of node-fu you want, but a system that calls these two nodes equal is flawed. Remember, this is not a flagrant comparison, it's merely the first one I looked at. I'm sure I have nodes worse than both of these, yet with higher reputation; and better nodes than both, but with a lower reputation. And I'm sure that every noder could look within his or her own WUs and document a similar story.

Good WUs stand a better chance of being rewarded - but not sufficiently so to make the time invested worthwhile. At least not if gaining XP and levels is your goal.

I think the point here I'm trying to make, if there is a point, is that there needs to be significantly more reward for writing good nodes - as opposed to interesting little factoids.

For this to happen, voting needs to be on a scale with more options; votes need to be audited to eliminate serial downvoters; and voters who completely defy logic need to justify their downvotes (the +27, -1 node).

"The administration does not take the voting and experience point system all that seriously."

The glib answer is, "perhaps they should." Really, I find this a bit hard to swallow. If this is truly the case, then why are noders rewarded for accumulating gobs of XP? Why are there lists of the people with the most of it? If we don't take XP seriously, then we're not taking voting seriously. If we're not taking voting seriously, then dispense with levels and voting altogether. I'm not being flippant.

Finally, the one statistic that bothers me most is that "only 17.4% of all noders with one or more writeups eventually make it to Level 2". We're doing something wrong. Our support system for new noders has to be better. We need to find ways to encourage people to stay and contribute.

But most of the talk seems to be towards raising the bar - making it more difficult to advance within the E2 level system. I can only see that decreasing the retention rate. We're having a difficult enough time getting people from 1 to 2, and 2 to 3; so we're going to make it harder? The argument must be extremely counter-intuitive - 'cuz I fails to see it.